This stands for the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. This large study was conducted to study the effects of vitamin supplements in slowing the progression of macular degeneration. The study showed that certain antioxidants were more helpful, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E and the metals zinc and copper (cupric acid). While these vitamins are found in a healthy diet, the high doses used in the AREDS trial were much higher than normal multivitamin tablets and are difficult to obtain through normal food intake. Therefore, additional oral pill supplements are recommended in anyone with signs of macular degeneration. While vitamins are generally safe, there are a few caveats you should keep in mind. If you are a smoker, you should NOT take any supplements with Vitamin A (beta-carotene) as this has been associated with higher rates of lung cancer. You really shouldn’t be smoking, as smoking has been found to speed macular degeneration in its own right. Also, there is some controversy over whether dietary zinc might slightly increase the risk of prostate cancer for men, but most authorities seem to think it safe. Both of these problems are being studied in the AREDS 2 Study.